It was the rush. Of wanting to feel again after a long period of isolation. Of needing to find a connection to the outside world. “I will take it,” I said. “Any semblance will do.” What started as a deliberate conquest for affection became a serious evaluation of the self, the spaces we let ourselves and our lives bleed through and into, the boundaries that bind us and somehow inform us of how to achieve our freedom, and the necessary patience to see for ourselves the magic that unfolds when we deliberately pursue what is profound.
I am a migrant worker, making ends meet in a foreign country so I can send money back home. The space I currently occupy challenges the way I have been establishing my personal space and borders. There came a point when I started suppressing myself so that I can acclimate to this space, a foreign land with unfamiliar faces. It has been a humbling experience as I have come to realize the sacrifices of my people, spanning generations, just so we can uplift our nation through our remittances. But the thing is, the condition we were trying to escape from, is the same condition we are supporting to prosper. The greed of politicians back in my country cuts me deep. They have romanticized this sacrifice of ours. It has become this self-perpetuating system of providing for our loved ones at the expense of missed birthdays, births or even deaths. It is an isolation of a different kind: it comes with an unbearable distance. It is a constant struggle of being here, in body, and there, in thought.
This distance, as it seems, can be easily bridged by social media. But the engagement we derive from it is only a substitute for the connections we have established offline. This is where the personal becomes public. The space social media provides becomes heft with personal judgment, performance for the sake of a perfect image, and selling your “personal brand”. What does that even mean? The engagement has become so polarizing. Since the personal can be easily made public, we are somehow empowered to speak up, have an opinion, use our voices. Yet at times our voices do not seem to matter. Should we even voice out our opinions? Will it add to the “discussion”? No wonder people feel isolated in these spaces. We crave for genuine connections from strangers. Typing these words now seems absurd, but they are quite true. We seek validation elsewhere. We try to find “love” in the most unlikely of places.
It is the rush. Of wanting to connect to someone as good as you. Someone whose borders are as fully set as yours. Someone willing to explore those limits and will push you if necessary. Someone you can create a space with for the possibilities despite these borders. It is not meeting halfway but meeting with a definite purpose. To proceed with uncertainty, to hold fear and joy at the same time.